10 Questions with ... Steve Touhy
July 7, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
Spent the majority of my 20 year career in the South Suburbs of Chicago. Wore plenty of hats over the years, working my way through host, sales, & promotions, later transitioning into Operations & Sales Manager. Most of that time was with Staradio at WYKT, WKAN, and WXNU. Also enjoyed time at WCMY and WRKX in Ottawa, IL, and a short stint at WKIF. After WKIF was sold, I hosted afternoons at WIBN in Indiana. After parting ways with them, I decided to go the route of internet radio with a local feel.
1. First things first: What got you started in radio, and why did you go into radio in the first place?
I used to call in to Danny Bonaduce’s talk show in Chicago and loved talk radio that was entertainment driven. I wasn’t sure how to make a living at it, but I knew I wanted to do it. I went to a broadcast school in Lombard, IL now called the Illinois Center for Broadcasting, got an internship on the John Records Landecker morning show, and the career continued from there.
2. And moving to the present day, why the online show? What goals do you want to accomplish with the show? Why online rather than wait to get it on terrestrial radio?
I’m not someone who knocks terrestrial radio. I love radio, period. I love doing entertaining radio. I live in the market that I do the show in and really didn’t want to leave. After spending so much time here, I had a good following and had a group of sponsors that were willing to take a chance on the idea of doing internet radio, geared toward a local audience. My hope is to take the show to a point where it is on multiple online and terrestrial staions.
3. Describe the show you're doing now. How is it the same or different from what you were, or would be, doing on terrestrial radio?
The show really is the same thing that I was doing on AM/FM stations. I don’t swear; I keep to the same standards that I had for myself in the past. The show is a 3 hour daily talk show, covering local and national pop culture. It’s very light hearted and fun. I stay away from politics, always have. I do the first hour and a half solo, and the second hour and a half, I team up with Tony Carr. Tony is a Chicago comic that owns and operates Chicago’s Comedy Scene, an online station that plays bits from Chicago comics all day.
4. What kind of response are you getting from listeners and advertisers so far? How are you getting the word out about the show to them?
The response has been great! Listeners interact on social media and email. We just recently started taking calls as well. The call thing, we haven’t really worked out so well yet, because the show is live each morning, but then repeats all day long on the www.Touhyville.com, ITunes Internet Radio, and TuneIn radio. It's easier for folks to interact on social media, and we can respond during the next day’s show. Sponsors have been really pleased as well. I started the show/station a little over a year ago with 3 sponsors (all 3 still with us), and now we are at 20. I have always done my show and sales, and have an incredible relationship with my sponsors. It’s personal to me that someone is taking their money and supporting my show, saying I want your listeners to know about my business. The sponsors become integrated into the show. I do live reads for everything from my cup of coffee each morning to “that joke we just made was brought to you by…”
5. What advice would you give those interested in doing the same thing -- what pitfalls should they watch out for, and what should they embrace about the different medium?
I think the medium itself is wide open and endless. The positive to the internet, being in a non-rated market I have actual numbers of listeners. For me personally I think it is easy for someone to go from AM/FM radio to the internet and feel like the chains are off and drop f-bombs everywhere and get filthy, which is fine for some folks. It can work and it the right situation. For me, staying clean and not swearing has made it easy for people to listen to on the computer in the office, have a laugh, and it’s made it easier to find sponsors.
6. Who have been your mentors, inspirations, and/or influences in the business?
When I interned for Landecker, I learned some cool things about talking to the microphone like it is another human, but his producer was Rick Kaempfer, who also happened to have been a producer for Steve Dahl & Garry Meier in their heyday. Rick taught me a ton about how to produce a morning show and put together a morning show, which made it so much better and easier to host the show.
The main radio guy I’ve always enjoyed and still do is Jonathon Brandmeier. Other inspirations have been late night guys. I did stand-up comedy for many years and still do from time to time. I have always been a fan of David Letterman, Johnny Carson, Jon Stewart, and now Jimmy Fallon. I even write and start the show each day with a 2-3 minute monologue of jokes the way a late night host would. My other inspiration is my wife. Now before you think that I’m trying to kiss up, listen: She and I worked together for almost two years, me as the Ops Manager and she as the Sale Manager. She is incredible. She is so good with her clients and know what they need before they do; it is truly inspiring, and she has taught me so much about sales that I could do a whole 10 questions just on that.
7. Of what are you most proud?
I have a couple of Illinois Broadcasters Association Awards that I’m proud of, I’m still excited when I get done with the show and feel like it was a really good one, and even though it was a short run I’m proud of the work I did as the Operations Manager/Sales Manager at WKIF. It was my first time being totally in charge, and the station grew quickly.
8. What do you do for fun?
I love video games. PS3/PS4. I could play for hours. I also love spending time with my wife and 2 girls. We have a 13 year old and a 17 year old. We have a really fun household. If you take a look at my Facebook page, you’ll always see us taking wacky pictures with crazy hats or matching outfits.
9. Fill in the blank: I can't make it through the day without ________.
...a laugh from my wife. My best audience.
10. What's the best advice you ever got? The worst?
Best advice I ever got “ Don’t let the S#@t get to ya,” from my Dad. Worst advice,”Come work here, we have some great stuff planned for your show,” from an unnamed former GM.